Prioritizing The Community Impact of Cannabis

Our Senior Project Manager, Dalton Valette breaks down the importance of developing a robust Community Impact Plan when starting a cannabis business. Watch the full video and catch our synopsis below.


Community Impact in the Cannabis Industry

Community impact is defined, broadly, as improving your surrounding community. At a more granular level, and specifically within the cannabis industry, community impact Is focused on the area where your business will be operating and taking an active role to reduce the often still ingrained prejudices and misconceptions about cannabis operations by giving back. Community impact can pave the way for smoother and more meaningful business operations and help maintain licensure and good, local connections.

Cannabis Community Impact Examples 

Examples of community impact within the cannabis industry include coordinating events with supportive lawmakers at your cannabis business, offering facility tours to educate and engage stakeholders. Additionally, joining the local Chamber of Commerce facilitates networking and demonstrates commitment to community involvement. Another impactful initiative involves closing shop for a day to participate in a Day of Service alongside local non-profits or fellow cannabis businesses, fostering goodwill and contributing positively to the community.

Community Impact and the Politics of Cannabis

Addressing politics is crucial in an industry grappling with the federal illegality of its product. Keeping abreast of local and state political landscapes is essential for obtaining licenses, securing permits, and garnering support from local government bodies. Engaging in community impact through political avenues involves attending relevant local board meetings to advocate for cannabis, offering tours of cannabis facilities to local officials, cultivating positive relationships with code enforcement authorities, and conducting educational outreach to inform and engage residents in the area.

These activities not only demonstrate a commitment to compliance and responsible operation but also contribute to shaping favorable political environments for the cannabis industry at the grassroots level.

The Business of Community Impact In Cannabis

In many parts of the country, cannabis still faces prejudice and stigma, making it crucial to establish credibility and reliability as a business partner for success. Building strong relationships with other businesses is vital, as is joining the local Chamber of Commerce to network and demonstrate commitment to the community. Collaborating with local experts in accounting or legal services can provide essential support for business needs and compliance. Hosting events for or coordinating with other businesses not only fosters partnerships but also enhances visibility and positive perception within the community, contributing to the long-term success of the cannabis enterprise.

Giving Back and Uplifting Others

Engaging with the community through volunteering is highly effective, whether done independently or in partnership with specialized non-profit organizations. It’s advisable to align with cannabis or hemp-focused groups like NCIA and NORML to build connections and brainstorm volunteer initiatives. Encouraging employee participation in Giving Tuesday activities in November and organizing a Day of Service where they volunteer with a chosen non-profit are impactful ways to give back.

Additionally, donating a percentage of profits to non-profits is a meaningful gesture, although caution should be exercised when selecting recipients to ensure compliance with federal laws regarding cannabis businesses. Prioritizing local or regional non-profits over larger, national entities is advisable to navigate the complexities of cannabis legality and maximize community impact.

Community Impact and Social Equity: What’s the Difference?

“Social equity” varies in definition from state to state, meaning that an individual or business may qualify as a social equity applicant in one state but not in another. Social equity applicants often receive priority licensing status or discounted fees, which may not be available to those solely with an exhaustive Community Impact Plan.

Nonetheless, a comprehensive Community Impact Plan is frequently required for all applicants during the licensing process or as a condition for license renewal, emphasizing its significance in regulatory compliance and fostering positive community relationships within the cannabis industry.

Community Impact and Delaware

As Delaware prepares for its inaugural application window for adult-use licenses, the state’s laws have meticulously outlined the criteria and prioritization process for social equity applicants. The initial licensing round in May will allocate 10 small/microbusiness cultivation licenses alongside 10 larger cultivation licenses, each with a canopy exceeding 2,500 square feet.

Throughout 2024, a limited number of social equity licenses will also be available for processors and retailers. Eligible social equity applicants must demonstrate residency in a disproportionately impacted area for at least five of the past ten years or have a majority ownership linked to a cannabis-related offense, whether through conviction, marriage to, or parenthood of an individual with such an offense.

Delaware will give preference to applicants showcasing a commitment to providing specific employee benefits. With the impending competitive application process, now is an opportune moment to assess eligibility as a social equity applicant and develop a Community Impact Plan addressing these employee benefits to enhance one’s chances of success.

How To Ensure Your Cannabis Business Has An Impact

With numerous states offering licensing opportunities on the horizon, it’s essential to consider crafting or at least outlining a Community Impact Plan if you haven’t already done so. Engage with local businesses, non-profits, and government entities to stay informed about cannabis-related developments at the local level. 

If you have any questions or need assistance with drafting your plan, contact the team at Canna Advisors for support and guidance on your own business’s community impact.

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